Who You Should Partner with to Enhance your Strengths

At Leadership Vision, we believe Strengths are most alive and most impactful when they are experienced in community. Any community will do (family, work, recreation, etc.)! We have the greatest potential to give life to ourselves and others when practicing our Themes of Strengths alongside others.

Recently, we received a question through the website asking:

“If my strongest Theme is in Executing, who should I seek to partner with to enhance my Strengths?”

This is a common question, and sometimes people get hung up on the Four Domains of Strength. The domains are a helpful starting point, but don’t give the full picture.

My colleague Bethany had some great insight when responding to this person, and we decided others would benefit from the answer. Here are three ways we typically answer the question who you should partner with to enhance your Strengths.

Strengths Never Work Alone

After working with the StrengthsFinder for more than 16 years, we have found that Strengths do not work alone, meaning your Theme of Ideation isn’t Ideating by itself. Your other Themes (and personality, etc), feed it in some way, which adds to the uniqueness of you.

When answering this question, Bethany reminds us to,

“Look at ALL of your five Themes together!”

Just because your Theme of [Achiever] is most dominant, and happens to be in the Executing Domain, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re all about Executing.

Bethany continued,

“How many domains of Strengths are represented by all five of your Themes? Just because you don’t have a Strength in the Relating domain, for example, does not mean you don’t relate.  You may relate to others through your Restorative Theme or through your Learner Theme. My prediction is that your strong Executing Theme probably pairs with one or more of your other top Themes, based on the situation.

Understand your Rank Order vs Functional Order

Most people don’t know this, but when you get your StrengthsFinder results back, you see them listed in “Rank Order.” This means that, according to the test, you rank highest in potential with that Theme. However, the test does not know how you function. This changes, largely related to the role you’re in.

For example, you may have the Theme of Adaptability ranked at number 5, but because you’re in a new job, have a new kid, just moved, or a variety of other reasons, you’re drawing heavily on this Theme during this phase of life. It is more dominant.

To help you figure out how your Themes are functioning, we suggest doing our ThemePrint Activity. It’s an easy way to identify what Talents are most alive in a Theme.

Identify Your Current Challenges

Before answering the question of who you should partner with, first identify what current challenges you are facing. Bethany suggests you ask yourself questions such as:

  • What is a current challenge I face today?
  • What has been an ongoing challenge in my role at [work, home, school, etc]?
  • What Talents might I leverage during this time?

Bethany further suggests that after answering those questions, dig into your knowledge of the other Themes and think about…

“…the type of person who could help navigate the situation or circumstance.  Think about observable behaviors you have seen in a teammate or colleague.”

Example: If you are having difficulty understanding the unique needs of team members or specific clients, perhaps you could leverage someone with the Theme of Individualization or someone with a relational application of Input.  If you find it difficult to navigate conflict, perhaps you could ask a person with the Theme of Harmony what they think might be going on before you move forward.

There aren’t quick, easy, or simple answers to the question about Strength partners. Early on in my own Strengths journey, I found this frustrating, because I wanted an answer now! As I have grown, I find it reassuring to know that there isn’t one right answer, but many possibilities. Depending on my situation, my Themes of Strength can be enhanced by a plethora of other Strengths or Talents.

What people or Strengths have you found that enhance your own Themes?